Don’t Be Afraid To Say It: Christmas

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - December 05, 2007

Merry Christmas!

There, I wrote it. It was at great personal and professional risk that I actually used the word “Christ” in public. Allow me to write it again, “Merry Christmas.” I hope you took note that I did not write “Happy Holidays” or worst of all “Merry X-mas.”

How many times have you encountered stores and employees who stridently avoid using the word “Christmas”? Signs will proclaim the aforementioned greetings, but “Christmas” is nowhere in sight. Let’s be clear. This wonderful holiday season full of music, goodwill and, yes, shopping is all because of the birth of Jesus Christ. The promise of salvation and the living example of God’s love is the basis for the swirl of this holiday season.

There is such irony that some retailers who rely on the Christmas season for the majority of their sales and revenues would turn their backs on the proverbial “reason for the season.”

I am not here to out those companies that decide to eliminate Christ and Christmas from their marketing message. However, there is a website where you can find such information. The folks at have compiled a list of companies and retailers who benefit greatly from the Christmas season, but simply refuse to use the word “Christmas.”

You may not think this is such a big deal. Well, for some of us it is. Christianity, faith, belief and religion have been marginalized, demonized and criticized in our society despite the fact an overwhelming majority of Americans claim a belief in God. Marketing strategists and gurus are convincing more and more retailers that invoking references to Christ during “Christmas” is too controversial and will repel potential customers.

I beg to differ. I believe there are more and more consumers who will choose to spend their hard-earned dollar with a retailer that celebrates the essence of Christmas or, at the very least, will not do everything possible to ignore or eliminate it.

Remember, you have influence with your dollar. You have the freedom of choice. If you prefer to enrich a business based on its sentiments regarding Christmas, so be it.

While loosely on the topic of shopping, please allow me a moment to vent. I am terminally irritated at big-box retailers that subject customers to the equivalent of the full body cavity search when you are leaving the store.

Yes, the dreaded receipt check.

I loathe that moment when you approach the exit and you see the officious Barney Fife-like security staff waiting to examine your purchase. They take your receipt and proceed to give you an audit that would make the IRS proud. I always take more than a tinge of umbrage at someone rifling through my newly acquired belongings. The objective? Who really knows?

I have asked why this was all necessary. One clerk told me that it was for our (the customers’) protection. Another retailer posts a sign that tells us it’s for our own good to ensure accuracy at the register. Give me a break.

The reason you, dear consumer, are required to acquiesce to such invasive procedures is to ensure cashiers are not giving friends and acquaintances mega-obscene discounts when going through their checkout line. Yes, there is an element of preventing good, old-fashioned shoplifting, but for our own protection? Be real.

I know that loss prevention is important. It does cost retailers a ton of cash. So, if you are going to require an exit exam, please, please assign a professional and pleasant employee for this delicate job. I can’t tell you how many of us shake our heads and swear we will never shop in that store again after a self-important power tripper spoils the shopping experience.

Thanks. I feel better.

Now, where’s my credit card?

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